U.S. Attorney General Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandGrassley calls for federal prosecutor to probe botched FBI Nassar investigation Durham seeking indictment of lawyer with ties to Democrats: reports Woman allegedly abused by Nassar after he was reported to FBI: 'I should not be here' MORE on Wednesday issued new guidelines on communication between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the White House, limiting the types of situations in which DOJ officials will speak to those in the administration.
“The success of the Department of Justice depends upon the trust of the American people,” Garland wrote. “That trust must be earned every day. And we can do so only through our adherence to the longstanding Departmental norms of independence from inappropriate influences, the principled exercise of discretion, and the treatment of like cases alike.”
According to Garland's memorandum, the DOJ will not advise the White House on "pending or contemplated" law enforcement investigations unless it is deemed important to the "performance of the President's duties and appropriate from a law enforcement perspective."
If such communication does occur, it will initially happen between only the attorney general and deputy attorney general and the counsel or deputy counsel to the president in order to insulate DOJ staff from "inappropriate influence."
Requests for legal opinions from the White House must also be made through these parties.
Garland's memorandum acknowledges, however, that it is "critically important" to have clear communication between the DOJ and the White House when it comes to matters of foreign relations and national security, and communication with national security officials will not be subject to the limitations detailed in his guidelines.
Upon announcing his nomination of Garland to be his attorney general, President BidenJoe BidenCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Biden pushes back at Democrats on taxes MORE vowed that he would keep the DOJ independent from the White House, marking a shift from former President TrumpDonald TrumpCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Netanyahu suggests Biden fell asleep in meeting with Israeli PM Aides try to keep Biden away from unscripted events or long interviews, book claims MORE, who often pressured his attorneys general to look into personal vendettas.
"As Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti noted in issuing the Department's first White House communication memorandum in 1979, these guidelines are not intended to wall off the Department from legitimate communications with the Administration," Garland wrote. "Rather, they are intended to route communications to the appropriate officials so that the communications can be adequately reviewed and considered, free from the appearance or reality of inappropriate influence."